Counting down the 20 most important Cardinals in 2023: #14 Nolan Gorman

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Why is Nolan Gorman important for St. Louis in 2023?

If you look at the players the Cardinals currently have, their power sources come from guys like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Tyler O'Neill, and maybe Jordan Walker, what do they all have in common? They're all right handed hitters, Gorman can be the power source from the left side of the plate.

Gorman is going to be the left-handed hitter for the Cardinals that are hoping will contribute in the power department in 2023. In 2022 Nolan was tied with Lars Nootbaar on the team in home runs among lefties with 14, and Gorman did that in fewer games. We expect to see Nootbaar to hit toward the top of the lineup not necessarily in a power role, he will hit his fair share, but we will see Gorman hitting toward the middle of the lineup, expecting him to hit more home runs.

It's important for a lineup to have balance, and force the hand of opposing managers who might want to have a right-handed reliever come into a game to face Goldschmidt and Arenado, knowing someone from the opposite side, with just as much power coming up to hit, it's a big advantage for the Cardinals to have. With Gorman being almost a foregone conclusion to make the team this season, as long as he starts the season strong, he should stay in the bigs and get more playing time this season.

With him being the favorite to play every day against right-handed pitching, and a candidate to play third base when Nolan Arenado needs a day off his feet, I expect Nolan to play 125/130 games this season, and look for him to hit 20/25 home runs while also cutting down on the strikeouts, it'll be important for the Cards to have a left-handed hitter producing power wise this season.

Nolan Gorman is also arguably the best option for the Cardinals right now to be the designated hitter. Jordan Walker and Juan Yepez can be DH possibilities, but I see Gorman as your current DH. What makes him the best fit for that position right now is that he was not a good defensive player last season, but thankfully for the Cardinals, it's not like they need him out there to play defense. The Cardinals might have the best defensive infield in baseball, with Goldschmidt and Arenado on the corners, and then Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan up the middle, that's four Gold Glovers for you, so being DH can help Gorman focus on his best attribute as a player, hitting, and hitting for power.

If the Cardinals decide to do a platoon at the designated hitting position like they did last season, then Gorman should get most of the starts with the majority of starters in Major League baseball being right-handed. With Albert Pujols on the team last season, being the DH against left-handed pitching, and also pinch-hitting for our left-handed hitters like Gorman, led to Nolan hardly getting any at-bats last season versus lefties, as all of his 14 home runs last season came against righties. Pujols is now retired, so we might see Gorman get more at-bats against lefties, but I wouldn't expect too much with guys like Yepez and Walker to face those lefties, Gorman can thrive in a role specifically for his current skill set by only facing right-handed pitching.

It'll be important for the Cardinals to have Gorman get the majority of the starts at DH against right-handed pitching, to provide power and runs batted in. If Gorman goes into another long slump we saw towards the end of last season or gets hurt. then the Cardinals don't have a proven power threat hitting from the left side, which could be a concern. The Cardinals will be hoping he can cut down on the strikeouts, continue to work on his defense in case of an injury in the infield, and expand his abilities as an MLB player. With more expected playing time, it could be a breakout sophomore season for Nolan Gorman.

Do you think having Gorman 14th on this list is a good spot? Should he get the majority of the starts at DH? Is he the crucial left-handed hitter for the Cardinals this season? Feel free to comment with your thoughts and stay tuned as Redbird Rants 20 most important Cardinals in 2023 list continues on.